Avoid the scams, find out which Business Opportunities actually work
23rd November 2012
Filed under: Direct Mail,Financial Trading,General Opportunities — Ben @ 4:01 pm

Over the past few weeks I’ve received two different sales letters claiming to come from “Jim Hunt”.

The first letter came from Streetwise Publications Limited and was selling a £27 per month course called “The Five Secrets“. In this letter Jim Hunt is given the title of “Course Director”.

The second letter came from Lifetime Enterprises Limited and was also selling a £27 per month course. This one was called “Corporate Raider” and was described as a “compendium of secret banking loopholes”. Jim Hunt also signed this letter.

As you can imagine the sales copy from both was extremely compelling and tempting.

In the case of the Five Secrets course I was severely tempted but this one sentence put me off:

“No-one ever got anywhere by being sceptical”

The copy goes on to ask whether the reader has ever met a wealthy sceptic.

Perhaps the copywriter has never watched TV but there’s a programme called “Dragons’ Den” that is broadcast on BBC1. It features a collection of multi-millionaires who listen to pitches by members of the public and then decide whether to invest in their ideas or not.

The whole gimmick of the show is that the Dragons have to be won around – they are sceptical about all ideas until the pitcher puts forward a good reason for them to invest.

These Dragons are multi-millionaires and their wealth dwarfs that of any of the “information publishers” who send out these types of biz opp sales letters. Knowing this it is difficult to understand how a copywriter can claim that there are no wealthy sceptics.

It’s just a silly sentence that has been added to try and make the reader think that being sceptical prevents you from making money in the hope that they’ll sign up to the standing order.

Shortly after discounting the sales letter I eventually found a full second-hand course of the Five Secrets for sale and snapped it up.

The seller was kind enough to include the original sales letter they received – the one that persuaded them to sign up.

Surprise, surprise, it is exactly the same as the one Streetwise is currently mailing out.

And the course has a copyright date on it “Copyright CMS 2000”.

This original sales letter comes from James Edwards of CMS, Reading. According to thisismoney.co.uk James Edwards is an alias of James Sheridan.

Very interesting.

As for the Corporate Raider system the sales letter speaks of special “bank passwords” that you enter into your computer. Apparently when you do this you will receive money within 5 minutes.

It comes from Lifetime Enterprises Limited and certain websites suggest that James Sheridan is a director of this company.

Strange coincidence!

The Corporate Raider sales letter is very compelling and also quite baffling in that it doesn’t actually tell you what this particular opportunity is about.

It says that it’s not a pyramid scheme, not a home business, not currency or commodity trading, not gambling, not property etc

Very interesting that it specifically mentions it’s not currency or commodity trading but doesn’t say that it won’t involve financial trading of some variety.

Therefore, it’s specifically stating what kind of trading that it ISN’T so maybe, just maybe, it does involve some kind of trading.

So what kind of trading would have someone typing in a “password” and then receiving money minutes later?

You would obviously be taking money from somebody else in some kind of trade, that would explain why you receive money almost instantly.

So you would possibly be selling something to another trader. That trader would be paying you for some kind of service or insurance or maybe even to shoulder some risk for him.

Could it be that you would be selling options?

That would explain why someone would pay you money immediately, without you appearing to actually “do” anything.

Perhaps it’s something to do with writing options on shares?

If it were, the “money” you receive would actually come from premiums that other investors pay you to buy these options.

The “passwords” in this case would likely relate to the shares that you are selling options on – whether calls or puts.

Correct me if I’m wrong but when you BUY options you have a limited downside but a potentially unlimited upside.

On the other hand if you SELL options you have an unlimited downside but a limited upside.

Selling options, therefore, can result in massive financial losses if you make the wrong decision.

The pieces appear to fit – passwords, money appearing within minutes, “instant cash, anytime, anywhere”, start with a thousand pounds etc

Maybe I’ll send off and get the first month of “Corporate Raider” free just to see if I’m right.

However, if the “Corporate Raider” Jim Hunt is the same person as the “Five Secrets” Jim Hunt then it may well be that the first lesson doesn’t tell you very much – as is the case with part one of the Five Secrets course.

And to be fair maybe the Corporate Raider course has nothing to do with options trading at all and there is a valid method of receiving hundreds of pounds just by typing in some letters to a website…

In any case it’ll all be revealed soon enough once people receive their first months’ newsletter. The review sites will no doubt spill the beans…

Update 19th February 2013:

If you want the 5 Secrets course but don’t want to wait for 10 months to get it I’ve put my own personal (100% official) copy of the course up for sale here:

Business Opportunity Manuals, DVDs and Videos For Sale

15th August 2012
Filed under: Direct Mail,General Opportunities,Internet Marketing — Ben @ 12:46 pm

There are hundreds of companies who have made money by selling information products that teach the purchaser how to make money from selling information products.

It has been a “business” for years.

It’s the reason there are so many people attracted to forums like the Warrior Forum – because they have all been told that in order to make money online you need to sell information products.

The people that flock to that forum have also been told that it’s easy to sell information products and that they don’t even need to create the product themselves.

Yes, everything can be outsourced for pennies.

Didn’t you know that?

Thousands of willing workers in third-world countries are lining up to create your product for next to nothing.

And what’s more, they’ll be positively thankful for the few shiny pennies you chuck their way for doing it!

Once your product’s been created, extreme riches are just around the corner.

All that’s left to do is create a sales letter that tells potential customers about the benefit of your product and publish it to the web.

Job done, money’s on the way… or maybe not…

From one of the big UK information publishers, who in the last couple of months have heavily promoted a copywriting seminar, comes this gem in their sales letter:

“…if I’m honest, an element of creative talent you’re simply born with is what’s needed to write a really BIG-money sales letter…”

What they’re saying is that providing you’ve already been born with the creative talent required to write a sales letter, you too can make money.

Funnily enough they didn’t mention this when promoting the copywriting seminar a couple of months ago.

Surely anyone who wants to train as a copywriter should be assessed before attending the seminar to make sure they have this creative talent, shouldn’t they? Otherwise it’d be a complete waste of time and money for them.

Moving on for a moment, let’s assume that like the vast majority of the world you can’t write a sales letter. What do you do then?

Easy – the answer comes in the same sales letter as the above gem of a quote, you simply pay for it:

“…£10,000 plus handsome royalties for a single letter…”

Of course, what the sales letter doesn’t mention is that for this price tag to apply you would still need to have a superb product and not some rubbish created by a non-English speaker.

Good copywriters (the ones who were born with the creative talent for writing sales letters) know when to pass on a sub-standard product. If they are going to get royalties then they want to write a sales letter for a good product.

Put some ghost-written rubbish in front of them and they’ll laugh you out of the building and ignore any further advances you make.

Here’s the truth: you’re not going to make money as an information publisher despite what you’re told in the silly sales letters that you get through the mail.

You might make a few quid selling hype and rubbish to idiots in the WSO forum but real information publishing is for the big boys with the deep pockets.

Their job is to sell you the dream.

In order to sell you the dream they need to create superb sales letters – by spending big money to hire one of the talented copywriters.

To make more money they need to create more and more products to sell to you because as every aspiring information publishers knows, when the customer is hot on a niche they get into a “buying mode”.

As if to prove the point you’ll regularly receive new sales letters, often contradicting the one that came before. Just like this:

Month 1 – make your fortune by attending this copywriting seminar for only £1000 – become rich as a copywriting legend

Month 2 – become rich using our ready-made sales letters because you can’t be a copywriting legend unless you’ve been born with the talent, it can’t be acquired – only £1000

With each product you buy you come away with a little bit more information but less in the bank.

And in the background the information publishers work on their next offering using top-notch writers – before hiring highly talented copywriters to sell the product.

Despite what they tell you in the sales letters, information publishing costs you a great deal if you want to make money.

If you weren’t born with copywriting talent it’ll cost you cold, hard cash.

And if you’re one of the minute percentage who were born with the talent, it’ll cost you

“…years of practice, intuition, and deep concentration…”

time, in other words.

Chances are if you’re receiving these sales letters then you’re both time poor and cash poor so you’re not going to be able to commit.

That’s why you’ll never make money from information publishing.

6th April 2011
Filed under: Direct Mail,General Opportunities,Warning — Ben @ 8:06 pm

It has been difficult to keep a straight face this week whilst watching the pretty ridiculous goings-on of a big, well-known business opportunity publisher.

This company – which here I’ll call “ABCD” – have built a reputation over the years of always offering a no nonsense, no questions asked money back guarantee on all of their products.

And they’ve been very successful.

Several years ago they sold a very expensive financial trading product and brought in millions of pounds in orders. It set of a bit of a trend.

There have been many other manuals, newsletters and courses over the years. Some good, some poor but each one with a solid money back guarantee.

For some reason ABCD have recently released a brand new product with one of those “mystery” opp sales letters. This is where the promotional letter gives very few details about what the opportunity involves.

The buyers still ordered – many who were probably previous customers and trusted ABCD with their money, assuming that they’d be able to get their money back without any fuss if it turned out to be a poor product.

Some found the product to be poor and sent it back to request a refund.

Here’s where it got silly.

ABCD apparently aren’t issuing refunds without a fight, claiming that the guarantee only applies if the product “doesn’t work”.

As you can imagine, this has enraged the buyers who have been refused refunds.

Of course in this day and age it is easy to find other people who aren’t happy with a product. All you need to do is go to a business opportunity forum or a review site that allows comments.

So that’s what the buyers did, congregated on forums and blogs, discussing the way they’d been treated by ABCD.

And the discussions went on with each comparing the various silly excuses they’d been given why they couldn’t have a refund.

Until…

ABCD appeared to get their lawyers involved.

Yes, ABCD have allegedly been issuing threats to the forum and blog owners about these supposed “defamatory” remarks about this new product.

The discussions have now been severely edited.

One forum owner has even stated that the forum will shortly be removed because he is tired of being threatened and of having to moderate the posts.

All in all it’s farcical.

The internet has been a blessing for consumers as it can be used to compare products and give reviews and warnings to others.

Biz opp publishers who want to write “blind” sales letters – letters where the opportunity isn’t outlined – no longer have the advantage they used to because the subject of their product is now revealed quickly.

And that’s a good thing.

10 years ago this wasn’t possible but now if you can’t figure out what a sales letter is saying you can simply wait a week or so and someone will review it online.

In this case ABCD, instead of creating a good product with a reasonable no-risk guarantee, are refusing refunds to unhappy buyers.

And they are damaging their reputation at the same time.

So instead of simply pacifying customers by giving them their money back, they appear to send legal threats to any website owners who carry unfavourable reviews of their products.

There are rumours that ABCD are having financial issues. Maybe this is true, maybe not, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence.

However, behaviour like this i.e. desperately holding on to customers’ cash when they aren’t happy, certainly makes it look like something is very wrong.

10th July 2009
Filed under: Direct Mail,Internet Marketing,Seminars — Ben @ 8:23 am

I still remember the first time I was really sucked in by a sales letter.

It was in 2003 when I got a mailing I’d requested from Vince Stanzione for his spread betting course.

I received a large envelope full of sales material and read it over and over again. After a week or so I sent off the money (£297) for the course and looked forward to receiving my new product.

The sales letter had certainly done its job. It had sold me superbly and coaxed me into spending more than I ever imagined I would on a home study course.

That whole experience led me into the business opportunity world and resulted in the creation of this blog and my main review site, BizOppsUK.com.

In the 6 years since I read that first mailing piece, I have read hundreds of sales letters.

Most have been mediocre, some terrible and a select few have been excellent. However, in many of these sales letters there has been one common theme – the copywriter exaggerating the truth somewhat.

Plenty of sales letters contain a story to hook the reader in and I guess you could say that some copywriters, as my friend Sam would say, “don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story“.

I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago after viewing a website for a Clickbank product, a successful one, which had been created by somebody who I often see at seminars. He’s a great bloke and we tend to catch up over a few beers each time we bump into each other.

This sales letter was telling the story about how my seminar friend had become a successful internet marketer.

Apparently, after listening attentively at a seminar a couple of years ago, he found a secret group having a mastermind session and gatecrashed their little gathering. After that meeting he had all the knowledge he needed to get started on his way to becoming a marketing superstar.

A great story, no doubt, but slightly different to the version of events that I recall.

My recollection of that seminar was that this particular fella was usually found sat on the back row with myself and several other semi-successful marketers, watching (and picking holes in) the various presentations and pitches (taking the mickey, basically).

When we weren’t in the seminar room for the scheduled presentations, we were at the bar.

The only “mastermind” session that I remember from that particular seminar was the downing of shots at the bar and the drunken arguments in the smoking area.

Perhaps the most successful marketer who was there (one who you would imagine would be in a mastermind group) was more interested in drinking than masterminding and we usually found him slumped over the bar come breakfast time. I don’t think he surfaced from his room unless there were other marketers at the bar.

Don’t get me wrong, the Clickbank vendor telling the story is successful and well worth listening to, but the events were slightly different to the professional sheen he put on the story in the sales letter.

The other story that didn’t quite ring true got me into a bit of trouble with one successful UK marketer.

This particular fella had written a story about a chance meeting with a millionaire who then basically taught him everything he knew.

Unfortunately in my review of this marketer I told a different version of events – one I had gleaned from a talk the marketer gave at one of his seminars.

At the seminar he said that he had been chasing the dream for years, attending lots of different events and paying for all kinds of mentoring packages when one day it just ‘clicked’. In the sales letter he told this completely different story that clashed with the truth, as I understood it.

Obviously this caused problems. Customers would see his sales letter, decide to do some research and come across my site. On my site I told a different story (don’t forget, the one he told in front of a camera i.e. a primary source) and so these customers became confused and confronted him.

The first I knew of it was when I received an email basically saying “what the &%#@! Please take that stuff down ASAP you’re confusing my customers!

So much for the down-to-earth, honest, ex-minimum wage slave!

Of course, telling lies in a sales letter can get you into a lot of trouble if you step over the line.

Adding a couple of little white lies to a sales letter is usually considered fine, probably to be expected but once you start creating fake Clickbank screenshots or faking testimonials then you’re into fraud territory.

Sadly I’ve seen plenty of those types of sales letters too and I’m sure they’ll keep on coming…

7th January 2009
Filed under: Direct Mail,General Opportunities,Internet Marketing — Ben @ 5:17 pm

Can someone explain this to me because I can’t understand how this can benefit me…

Late 2006 I sign up for a printed newsletter which gets good reviews. It’s a yearly subscription, priced at (for arguement’s sake) $127 per year.

2007 I renew, again paying $127 for a full year.

Fast forward to late 2008 and I receive a subscription request letter saying:

“The current monthly membership fee is $24.95 per month however… [as you are already a member]… your membership is kept at the original low level of $19.95 [per month]”

Erm, no, that’s not quite right.

My YEARLY fee is $127 – why would I want to pay $19.95 a month? That’s almost TWICE what I pay now!

I would prefer it if the person(s) in question were upfront about wanting to increase the price – but to try and make out I am getting a good deal by signing up again at double the price doesn’t make sense.

So, no thanks, I’ll leave it I think.

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